Hi friends! Happy Wednesday.
I wrote this blog a while back: A Healthy Mind, In a Healthy Body. My friend Kayla commented under “I’m with you!!! I have completely gone off of medicine and I contribute 90% of it to the fact that I started working out again and making better choices. Chemical imbalance is a REAL thing but the steps I took certainly helped!! Thanks for this post ”
Of course I had to bring her on the blog to tell us her story. I absolutely love having guests come on + I admire how honest they are with us. The mantra of this blog will always be: if this story helps just one person, it is more than worth posting.
Kayla + I were on the track team together at UW-La Crosse. She now lives in my hometown of Pewaukee! She has been a big supporter of the blog for a long time. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart Kayla for reading along + now contributing.
Here is her story:
I’ve always been an anxious person, but it wasn’t until I had a bunch of huge life changes that anxiety became life-altering for me. In June of 2012, anxiety hit me like a ton of bricks. I graduated from college, moved out of La Crosse after calling it home for 5 years, moved back into my parents house and was looking for apartments with my fiancé, got my first job, and was getting married in November. All of a sudden, my brain wouldn’t shut off, I was sick to my stomach, my heart was racing, and I did not feel like I could get out of bed…for days. My family was incredibly supportive, especially my dad who also deals with anxiety on a daily basis. I felt alone, crazy, and unable to think about the next day. My parents quickly got me in to see a psychiatrist. She assured me that I was not going crazy and that what I was going through was completely normal considering all the change I was experiencing. Together we came up with a few positive affirmations that I was to tell myself when my brain started to think uncontrollably. She calmed me and for the first time in a week, my stomach wasn’t in knots and my heart slowed to a normal pace. She prescribed me some anti-anxiety medicine to help me get back in control of my thoughts and my emotions. She encouraged me to journal; to write down everything I was thinking and to rate my anxiety on a scale of 1-10. Slowly and surely, I regained control and started to feel better. That was four and a half years ago.
Looking back, although that time in my life was one of the most challenging and trying times of my life, I am who I am today because of what I went through. My true friends stuck by me, my family was my rock, and my fiancé at the time is now my husband of a little over four years! After about two years on medication, I decided I wanted to try to go without it. I went to my doctor and she gave me a 6-week plan to help wean me off the medication with the least amount of side effects. It wasn’t easy and I knew I was going to have to find another way to cope with my daily anxiety so I did not end up back where I was two years earlier.
Today, I have been off of medication for about two and a half years! I credit most of my anxiety management to working out 4-5x a week. I was always a very active athlete throughout high school and college (working out 6-7x a week) but when I got a full-time job and started “real life” working out was not nearly as much of a priority. I was tired after work and the last thing I wanted to do was workout. I became a member at Snap Fitness and convinced myself that in order to be the happiest and healthiest me (both physically AND mentally), I needed to get my body moving again! Even on the days when I really don’t want to, digging deep and knowing that my brain and my body both benefit from a getting in a good sweat in (and feeling those awesome endorphins) is all the motivation I need. I also do a lot of self-talk and positive affirmations when I am in the middle of an intense workout and especially when I am feeling anxious. I’ve also found journaling to be an effective way for me to manage my anxiety. Sometimes writing down my thoughts helps me clear my mind so I can fill it with more positive thoughts. Some days are harder than others, but I know that whatever it is, with the support of the ones I love the most and a positive attitude, I can get through it!
Thanks again for sharing Kayla! 🙂 I had no idea how crippling anxiety could be until a few of my coworkers + Kayla shared how it impacts them. I loved the tip her psychiatrist gave her about utilizing positive affirmations when she is feeling anxious.
I have a few that I always use myself during different situations. I challenge you to think about the self-talk that you use when the going gets tough. Write down a few positive affirmations for you to utilize throughout the day.
Ames (+ Kayla)